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"Pacing the Plot of Your Novel or Short Story" with John Pipkin

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St. Edward's University
Moody Hall 209
Austin, TX 78704

3/8/2014 From 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM


 $49 for members (log in for member price)

$109 for nonmembers

Whether you are writing a story or a novel, pacing can be one of the most elusive aspects of plotting, and often writers make the mistake of assuming that the only way to improve the pace of a story is to make as much stuff happen as quickly as possible. But a well-paced story is one in which the narrative unfolds at the speed and rhythm that the characters, scenes, and themes require. And often, pacing is determined not just by what happens, but by the mechanics of how the story is being told, sentence by sentence. Sometimes, decisions as simple as word choice can have a profound effect on the pace of a story. This half-day class will examine the characteristics of successful pacing, and we'll look at some basic strategies for helping your story develop at the rhythm that feels well-suited to the plot. We'll also identify some of the sign-posts that can indicate pacing problems in a story, and we'll discuss how to handle these issues in the revision stage.

John Pipkin’s first novel,
Woodsburner, was published to national acclaim by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday in April 2009. Woodsburner won the New York Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Massachusetts Center for the Book Novel Prize, and the Texas Institute of Letters Stephen Turner Prize for First Novel. John was the Dobie Paisano Fellow for the spring of 2011. He recently sold his second novel to Doubleday.

REGISTRATION BY MAIL: If your browser has difficulty with our website store, or if you prefer to mail in a check, click HERE for a class registration form. The document provides instructions on where to mail it.

NOTE: Tickets are not refundable, but they are transferable. If you purchase a ticket and then find you cannot attend, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at or 512-499-8914 and let us know so that we can update the class roster. For more information on class policies, please visit our Classes page.


This project is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future. Visit Austin at


Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to


The Writers' League of Texas would like to thank St. Edward's University for its generous support and commitment to community, ongoing education, and the arts. Visit